Sunday’s Race Of The Day – Ulster National Tips

General Principle Irish Grand NationalGeneral Principle Irish Grand National

Jon Vine takes a look at each of the runners in the Ulster National and provides readers with his tips in Sunday’s race of the day.

Downpatrick’s Ulster National meeting will take place behind closed doors on Sunday, but the feature race of the day is sure to attract plenty of attention. I’ve taken through the field for Sunday’s Ulster National and come up with my best bet.

Sunday’s Race Of The Day at Downpatrick

The Red Menace

Hammered a capable rival in Charlie Stout by 21 lengths back in October, before lengths defeat in the Cork National. Hasn’t been out since the start of November, and has never won over further than 2m6f. Jockey takes seven pounds off the top weight, but definite questions around stamina.


Comfortably beaten on first four starts over fences. held off Treacyenniscorthy to win a novices handicap at Navan the last day. Thrown back in with older chasers here and has been thrown up the handicap by 14 pounds. 11-10 might be an unmanageable burden.

Gun Digger

Ended a run of dismal form at Leopardstown three weeks ago, winning a messy two-and-a-half-mile handicap. Had struggled to even finish a race over longer distances prior to that run. Even with Gavin Brouder’s claimer, I’m not really interested.

General Principle

Still hasn’t won since his Irish Grand National triumph in 2018. Has shown flashes of form since then, placing in the Irish National Trial last season, and ran well to place fourth in the Leinster National last time. Some eight-pounds short of his last winning mark and Sean O’Keeffe’s claimer leaves him carrying just 11-3. A definite each-way player.

Rocky’s Silver

Guided to victory in the Amateur National at Punchestown by Derek O’Connor in January. Pulled up on last outing around the same course, where his jumping fell apart during the latter stages. Good strike rate over fences and could play a part again if jumping stands up to scrutiny.

Gordon Elliott Down Royal

Gordon Elliott plays a strong hand in today’s Ulster National.

Cheb De Kerviniou

Has hit the frame in four starts since arriving from France. Recorded his best performance at Naas last time out, losing out by less than two lengths in the Leinster National. Jumps well, stays well and could still be well-handicapped. A worthy favourite.


Won twice in good quality handicaps this time last year. Missed the bulk of the regular season and could only finish 11th on return in handicap hurdle earlier this month. Clearly prefers good ground, so going on Sunday shouldn’t suit.

Out Sam

Last seen following Easysland and Tiger Roll home in the Cross Country at the Cheltenham Festival. Won the 2018 Cork Grand National off a mark four pounds higher than this. Results since have been largely poor, though, and hasn’t got within 13-lengths of the winners in any of his six starts this term. Jamie Codd an interesting booking though.

Its All Guesswork

Tried to get him into the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, but finished well outside the places on both starts over hurdles. Hasn’t been over fences since finishing 15th in the 2019 Kim Muir. Only eight, so remains open to improvement, but only wins have come on good ground.

Space Cadet

Won twice in point-to-points during the autumn. Hasn’t been much of a factor on four starts under rules, though, pulling up in the Welsh Grand National and at Punchestown. Was fifth in the Leinster National last time and blinkers have been sitting for the first time. Would still be a surprise if he challenged for the win.


Well-beaten in three beginners chases. Then secured a surprise victory in the Irish Grand National Trial, edging out fellow mare Agusta Gold. Only had 9-9 to contender with off her mark of 119 that day. Now up to 127 and must carry 23 pounds more on her back. Willie Mullins a genius with these mares though. No surprise if she went well again.

Paul Townend Willie Mullins Gold Cup

Paul Townend and Trainer Willie Mullins team up with Ifyoucatchmenow on Sunday.

Poormans Hill

The sixth of Gordon Elliott’s entrants. Hasn’t been seen since a hurdles run at Punchestown during the summer. Can’t see why he would make an impact.

Call The Taxie

Hasn’t won over fences since first start as a novice. Was moved to PJ Rothwell’s yard in February, and has been pulled up on both starts since. Again, shouldn’t be a big player.

Cappacurry Zak

11-year-old who’s been in decent form of late. Has won two handicaps on bottomless ground, with a third-place sandwiched in-between. In much deeper water than anything he’s faced so far this term. Could find himself a little out of his depth.

Coastal Tiep

Ran OK in hunter chases the last twice, finishing third to Billaway at Naas. Hasn’t run under rules since switching to Stuart Crawford’s yard. Not sure he has much of a chance.

Saturday’s Race Of The Day – Verdict

Unlike the Irish Grand National Trial, where there was 23 pounds separating the top and bottom weights, the whole field on Sunday will be split by just 10 pounds, so weights may not matter too much. Cheb De Kerviniou and Ifyoucatchmenow look worthy market leaders, but I’m prepared to take both of them on with a solid each-way option.

Gordon Elliott accounts for a third of the field, and I think it’s worth taking a chance on GENERAL PRINCIPLE. The former Irish National winner has placed fourth on both his previous starts and he’s sure to relish the softer ground conditions.

Like many of the leading contenders, Elliott’s eleven-year-old has never run at Downpatrick before. But this tight, right-handed track has many similarities with Fairyhouse, where General Principle snatched the biggest victory of his career. Of all those sitting at each-way prices, he’s the one who appeals most.